Sep 05, 2017 | By Sara Radin
How to be a Retronaut is a vast, dizzyingly thorough blog which aggregates vintage images and video on such far-flung topics as the first video game, USA shopping malls circa 1990, circus photos and 20th century musician mugshots. In short, it is a hotbed of inspiration from unexpected sources. Chris Wild, the blog’s founder and resident Retronaut, works as a consultant for archives, museums, brands, and digital history, and is set to unveil his much-anticipated Retroscope later this year, a sort of visual online archive that will allow users to discover– and contribute to– the historical and cultural context of a chosen ‘entry point’ simply by typing in a key term. BBC news described their test run, “...searching for the Dakota Building in New York brings up a series of juxtaposed historical photographs that stretch back to 1890, just a few years after it was built.”
Wild noted at a 2010 TED conference, “I have always wanted to go back in time and I was constrained by the practical difficulties of doing that.” One imagines, then, that How to be a Retronaut is just the beginning.
Below, a series of recent Retronaut favorites, ranging from F.W. Glasier’s Circus photographs from the late 19th-early 20th century, photo albums of Russian aristocrats The Romanov family, and images of the found wallet of a former NYtimes employee, discovered 40 years after it was initially stolen.
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